Good Things Come in Threes

I’ve had a bit of surprise today.

It seems that Tor has changed its plans for my third book.

Originally, A King in Cobwebs, was meant to appear on its own next summer (July 2018, as I recall). And, I am afraid, it would have made a rather sheepish final entry in its trilogy, appearing several long years after books one and two were out of print.  (You might picture the book scuffling its toe in the dirt, afraid to meet the eye of other books).

It was, I should add, more than fair of the publishers. I had no cause to complain whatsoever.

Today, however, I learn that all three books are to be relaunched in 2018. There are even to be gorgeous new cover treatments (which must remain under wraps for the time being). 

As of this writing, publication dates are set as follows:

  • In the Eye of Heaven: 5/22/2018
  • In a Time of Treason: 8/7/2018
  • A King in Cobwebs: 12/11/2018

I cannot help but feel that this gives my poor efforts a new chance to find an audience among those who love a little harrowing medieval fun.

(I’m tickled).


King in Cobwebs Publication Date: 7/24/2018

IMG_2291I have a little news to share: We have a pub date!

My next book, A King in Cobwebs, is slated for publication on July 24, 2018.

As any under-the-radar writer will tell you, a book needs a lot of help if it’s to find an audience. (This one will need a nudge from each and every one of you).

I will confess that the book took a while for me to put together.  It has always been challenging for me to write around a full-time job, and as I worked on this particular project, my wife and I started a family. Time vanished.

The book was a labour of love (and bloody mindedness), but I suspect most books are.

More news soon.

Edits Complete


Curious Keck creatures consider Tor.

Your author considers Tor headquarters…

My third book, A King in Cobwebs, has come through a brief back-and-forth of the editing process over at Tor, and is now finding its place in the future plans of that illustrious publishing house.

Details will follow soon enough, but a cheque appeared in my mailbox this afternoon (hot on the heals of a rather alarming estimate from my local transmission shop).

In the meantime, I may have to think about a new author photo. The old one isn’t exactly an accurate representation of yours truly anymore….

MisCon Bound


This weekend, we’re heading off to the possibly magical land of Missoula Montana for MisCon 29 where my daughter is looking forward to making a tornado in a jar, building her own minion and creating a sock puppet. (She’s really excited).

We’re quite grateful to be going. My lovely wife is guest of honor (along with her author Terry Brooks and John Picacio, both of whom are quite ridiculously nice guys), and the convention organizers have volunteered to pitch in and help with transportation costs to get our whole little clan to Montana.

There seems to be niceness in abundance.

Me? I’m looking forward to playing writer, meeting a some nifty people, and reconnecting with at least one old friend. It might also be nice to see a few unpaved spaces. (It’s been a season or two since I’ve seen the great outdoors).

The organizers have kindly popped me on a panel or two, and I’ll do my best to bring something to the conversations. (Odds are that I’ll be the only one who knows my work in any given conference room these days).

Writing with the Burger Clown

Your friend and mine...

For some, it can be tough to sustain the necessary focus to get real writing done. (For me, it can be tough to sustain the necessary focus to get real writing done).
Sure, life gets in the way. (Life gets in the way like an angry glyptodon in a Hyundai). But, when I find a rare moment of peace and contemplation, I find that distractions come crowding in.
Captured time, I find, is invaluable. These are the chunks of time (stuck on a bus, crammed in a basement corner) that sensible people arrange their whole lives to escape. But, for me, there is nothing quite like the concentration I can achieve when I’m stuck wedged between strangers with a note pad. (There’s no where to go — but in).
A couple of mornings a week, our school starts a little later than usual. In those small chunks of time, I buy a cup of coffee and write with the burger clown.
It’s been very useful.
(Currently writing a new transition at page 534 of Dave’s 3rd Book).

Taking a Punch

Your author may be wrong, but it seems to him that any attempt to defend oneself against criticism in a writer's group is both ill advised and doomed to fail.

Your author may be wrong, but it seems to him that any attempt to defend oneself against criticism in a writer’s group is both ill advised and doomed to fail.

Your Mum is an Idiot

When you hand your shining new story over to a workshop, editor, beta reader, spouse or mum, you may feel a natural tendency to defend what you’ve written.

“Your honest reaction is wrong!” you will think. “You are clearly a fool!” you will think (possibly of your mother).

I have come to suspect that these entirely natural responses are to be rigorously suppressed — because they are quite possibly wrong.

The State of Being: “To Be” or Not “To Have” a Case in Point

I remember a time when beloved fantasy author and one-time writer’s group-mate who shall remain nameless (Steven Erikson) expressed the feeling that I had overdone the passive voice.

Well! I looked closely at the text. I ran the style software over the thing, and I discovered that he was wrong. Wrong! I had not used the passive voice. Never! The fool! (The passive voice is not frequently used by yours truly). I felt vindicated — but I was fundamentally wrong. You see, while the writing wasn’t technically in the passive voice, I had chosen to avoid active verbs every time I could. He was there. She was that. They were boring, boring, boring.

Steve’s reaction? It was worth listening to.

The Information

Every reader’s reaction is information — and information can sometimes be quite useful. (Not always, mind you).

It was my mum who asked, “Don’t these fantasy novels sometimes have women in them?” (The fool). And, while I had a perfectly reasonable explanation for the sausage fest I’d written, I also had to admit that she might have had a point. (Many rewrites later, I’d put in a girl — the third book has three!).

Grin & Bear It

If you want a story to get better, you need to must learn to take a punch. (And respond after careful consideration alone at your keyboard).

Everything anyone says to you in a writer’s workshop (or anything said by a beta reader or mother or spouse) is information. You cannot argue someone out of their reaction. (That horse has already sailed). Ignore the information or not, it’s information.

I have given myself permission to nod understandingly and to ask few unloaded just-clarifying questions (such pain!).

But, once I have gathered the information, then, (after the fits of Faulty Towers clenched-fist rage at the unfairness of such things) I decide what to I must do next…

(You must, of course, make up your own mind).